Annual Summary of 2016

2016 was different since we were without a big boat for the first year since 1993. We occasionally miss the cruising life but most of the time we believe moving ashore was the right decision. Fixing up our house was top priority this year. The kitchen/dining area is now finished and is both functional and beautiful. The living room is also finished and comfortably furnished. Last winter was mild but future winters may be colder so this summer we replaced half the roof and added insulation and a propane fireplace insert. Solar panels were added to the roof to reduce electric bills. Now we're warm and cozy downstairs while working on the upstairs rooms. By next summer the upstairs rooms should be ready for guests and we should have more time off to enjoy the outdoors.

Our big expedition of 2016 was to Peru in January and February. We were hosted by our daughter Jennifer's family and they helped us see much of the country. We spent many days in Lima, a huge city holding about a third of all Peruvians. It has interesting historical buildings dating back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors and a mix of other buildings ranging from expensive modern to decrepit old. In the northern part of the country we saw sugar mills, mountain villages of subsistence farmers and museums preserving relics of proud indigenous people. After adjusting to the high altitude, we loved beautiful old Cuzco and greatly enjoyed a day at Machu Picchu. In Puno we watched the spectacular Candelaria festival where celebrants put on shows filling a stadium with up to a thousand performers at a time in elaborate costumes. We took a boat ride on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world, and saw the famous reed boats which are now just for tourists.

During the summer Nina created flower gardens around the house and remarkable vegetable gardens in the back yard with two raised beds plus an area where there used to be an old shed. She fertilized, added peat moss and other good stuff and planted all sorts of vegetables. Most seeds came up to provide heaps of fresh food. A new freezer was needed to hold the tomato sauce and other produce which couldn't be eaten immediately. When Fall came, it seemed strange to buy tomatoes in the store. There are still many pumpkins and acorn squash on cellar shelves which should last through the winter. This first year of gardening was definitely an experiment so next summer's results may be even better.

Nina's birthday celebration was great fun with children and grandchildren joining us to kayak down the Connecticut River, walk on the Appalachian Trail and ride in hot air balloons. Other Hartland events included meals with brothers and sisters, the Fourth of July celebration, Jazz Festival, Farmers Markets, Church suppers, good plays and concerts. Slightly further away were reunions with High School classmates, two family weddings, a Turnip Festival, a Game Supper, Feast and Field concerts and visits with friends in the Burlington area.